On hit list, businessmen, politicians line up for arms training

Arms tranning50 turned up Sunday. The DGP plans to cover the entire state (PTI)

Businessmen and politicians dusted off their guns and queued up to hone their shooting skills here at a session organised by the Ranchi police here Sunday.

Though the police denied that the effort had anything to with recent incidents, the May 25 Naxalite attack on Congress politicians in Sukma and threats to the city's businessmen seemed to have swelled attendance.

"The session was not related to any crime. It was intended for those who have not had an opportunity to fire for a long time. In effect, our effort was to ensure that they do not endanger themselves if they have to use the weapon," said Ranchi's Superintendent of Police Saket Kumar Singh.

It was a bring-your-own-gun party at the Jharkhand Armed Police-II firing range. "They brought own weapons, ammunitions. Almost 50 turned up. There are requests for more sessions like this; we will probably have another in 15 days," said the SSP.

While many politicians have police protection, businessmen are easy targets in the state for extortion as well as kidnapping. Ranchi businessmen Sunil Kejriwal and Gyanchand Jain were among those shot dead last year.

Ranchi's former deputy Mayor Ajay Nath Shahdeo, whose relative Lal Ranjan Nath Shahdeo survived a bid on his life in May, attended the session. As did a businessman who said he had bought a gun after acquaintances were shot at in the city.

As the SSP pointed out, "One does not need to know how to fire a weapon to get a licence. All they have to do is prove that they face some sort of threat."

This much was obvious on Sunday. "There were people who had not fired a gun for over 10 years," said the SSP.

DGP Rajiv Kumar said the police would soon organise such sessions in all 24 districts. "I am also considering reviving district rifle clubs. The local SPs are usually the secretaries. We would like all citizens who have arms licence to be well-versed in shooting," he said.

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